GAO PING (b.1970): The Storyteller for Flute, Oboe, String Trio and Harp, Distant Voices for Piano, Cello Sonata No. 2 "Departure", 2 Soviet Love Songs for Vocalizing Pianist.
Catalogue Number: 01I079
Description: The traditions and styles of Chinese storytelling are a central inspiration for Gao's music, who grew up in China listening to the oral tradition of folklore and "poetry. The three-movement piano suite incorporates authentic Chinese folk melodies; the other works do not, and do not advertise the composer's ethnicity, a few harmonic inflections aside. The work that specifically evokes the story-teller's art is divided into contrasting movements with a sense of dramatic narrative; the two 'tales' are for the full ensemble and combine warmly romantic harmonies with more ambiguous, even atonal material, suggesting speech and gesture. The cello sonata functions similarly, like an extended soliloquy encompassing many moods, but all based on related elements, like a motif running through a story. The two pieces 'for vocalising pianist' are lively and amusing, as though the story-teller ended the evening with a couple of naughty limericks; based on Soviet-era songs popular in China, the second contains a winking tribute to Shostakovich, and both make a virtue of the involuntary tendency of certain pianists to vocalise as they play. Ensemble Pyramide, Gao Ping (piano).